Meet the Patels | Documentary about Indian American Arranged Marriage | Independent Lens | PBS
Ravi Patel's first role as a call-center operator in Michael Bay's Transformers had him working the notorious “Apu” accent. Eight years on and. Ravi Patel remembers exactly where he was when inspiration struck for Meet the Patels, the documentary he made with sister Geeta Patel over. Jasbina Ahluwalia interview with Meet The Patels Cast - Ravi Patel, Vasant Patel and later founded the popular poker magazine All In. He graduated from The.
A prodigious autodidact from a small town in Southeast India, Ramanujan played by Patel left his wife Janaki Bhise and mother behind to study mathematics at Cambridge University with famous English intellectuals such as G. Not everyone at Cambridge was as welcoming as Hardy, and Ramanujan soon found himself isolated from his family, friends, and culture, in a country embroiled in World War One.
I wanted to be Audrey when I was young. I wanted to be an actress, but in the same way little girls want to be princesses. I used to perform for my parents all the time with my cousins and I always did school plays, but it never really occurred to anyone for me to go into professional acting.
When I was in 10th grade at Brearley, I was in my first movie, which I got so randomly. It was called The Accidental Husband. I was contacted by the director Griffin Dunne—he actually saw me dancing at Lincoln Center.
- Film Review: ‘Meet the Patels’
- Meet the Patels
- Meet The Patels – Interview With the Movie Cast – Ravi Patel, Vasant Patel & Champa Patel
He saw me perform and I was called in for an audition. I got that role and it was just an incredible experience. Griffin was such a giving, caring director, who spends time with his actors, which is really important. He really made me feel at home and comfortable with the role. It was a very small part, which got cut down to an even smaller part, but just being in that movie was a great experience and I got into SAG, which I thought was very, very cool.
Documentary ‘Meet the Patels’ looks at arranged marriage
You have to go to college. I wrote about it in my application and they thought it was cool. Then John Astin, who was the head of the program at Hopkins, called me. He was Gomez Adams in the original Addams Family. I was going to write a paper originally about this community [in India] hijras. They live on the outskirts of society.
People think they have mystical powers, that they can curse you. So I was going to write this paper, and then I was in India the August before my senior year and just took a camera and started recording everything when I was doing research. Vasant, do you have anything to add to that? I think the parents need to realize that their job is to do their best to find the right girl or boy. Their job is to do their best. They can be right as much as we can be right.
I think kids also have to respect their parents and realize they want the best for their kids.
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Give them the opportunity and a little leeway in their thinking and opinions. Do take advantage of their years of experience. I think it goes both ways. I think it will help the relationship as well as their attempt to find the right partner if they do it that way. With what I do, I find that there are a lot of assumptions being made.
I often encourage dialogue because the kids and the parents make a lot of assumptions in these matters. Do you think there are any gender differences with respect to marrying non-Indian? Do Indian men and Indian women approach this whole thing differently? These are tough questions. I think that mom and dad have strong opinions on this. Every Indian is very different. As a result, oftentimes, you see them run away even faster. Champa and Vasant, do you have any thoughts on this.
Do Indian men and women tend to approach it differently? I think the one thing that we notice in the community is that a lot of Indian girls have married Americans, but there are fewer Indian boys who have married American girls. With Indian girls who married American boys, there is virtually no divorce.
They appear to be very happy, too. We have a lot more friends who have children where their girls married American boys. They appear to be very happy after a number of years. Champa, do you have any thoughts on this? The only thing I can think of is, when the Indian girls go out, maybe they saw something in an Indian house.
They know that they control the kids and the house. We do know many girls who have gotten married to American guys go to temple. They are in touch with the community. They have Indian friends.
I think girls control the daily lifestyle. I call them mild or lazy sometimes. They just go along. That is all that I have noticed in inter-class marriage. I saw pivotal moments in the film.
There was a particular email in the film. I was talking to a client who had seen your film as well. I voiced, from where I sit, how courageous and self-empowered it was for the girlfriend in the movie to have sent the email that she did. I think this is super important for women to understand, of all ethnicities and ages. This is something I coach on often. Tell me about your processing as a result of that email.
The movie is more about achieving a degree of transparency and courage with my relationship with mom and dad, and having honesty there. That was something I was struggling with despite the email.
The email definitely accelerated things. Certainly, that struggle was documented through the movie. I got the impression that the email put it on hyper-drive. You may have given yourself a bit more time without it. I took enough time as it was. I would love for the three of you to weigh in on this based on your research, expertise or personal experience. What are the top three tips for South Asian singles in North America navigating their search for a life partner?
The first one is to decide what you want your relationship to be like with your family, not in the moment, but in the future when this person comes into your life. If you want that relationship to be where everyone gets along and loves each other, the thing about family is that we tend to love each other unconditionally.
No matter who it is that you choose to bring into your life as a partner, understand that your family is probably going to love you no matter what. The key to navigating that world, whether you find someone who is South Asian or not, is in how you communicate with your family.
Find a degree of transparency within the relationship. Figuring out exactly what it is that you want will be premised on what you want in terms of the dynamic between this person you bring in and the rest of your family. That tends to get in the way. There will be more that will get in the way.
He will not invite me in his process again. There is no invitation needed. These people invite themselves. What are your top three tips for South Asians to navigate this? I still believe that checking out culture and religion are important before you go any further. Looks can be deceiving many times.
The third thing is, if there are good basics and the fundamentals of the lifestyle match, then go for it. Love will develop as time goes. I want to go a little deeper. Many times, kids are at a party or a bar. They see a girl and try to approach her.
They get so lost in her looks that they forget the main fundamentals of the relationship that they need to have a marriage. For example, you like her because she looks very sexy. Then they have to let it go. Vasant, you were quoted by your wife. What else do you have to add?
Let me expand upon what she just said. We all want to look for a beauty. What determines the success of the marriage is not how she looks but how beautiful she is inside. You cannot see all of those things in a picture. I think they lose out on a lot of candidates. I wish I had approached them before.
I think there is a big difference in those two. I hope they keep a proper perspective when they look for a match. Do you have anything to add as far as chemistry or physical attractiveness? I agree with what they say. There is more to a person than the way that they look. I would also say that looks are important, to the extent that they are one small component of attraction. All of a sudden, you meet someone and there is this magical moment.
There is not enough emphasis put on the stuff that mom and dad are talking about, which is compatibility and commitment. I think all three things are important, attraction, compatibility and commitment. You have to be able to look at all three as a spectrum as opposed to just leaning on one of those pillars. I want to make a comment here.
You have to know about the inside.